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An anecdote in Chapter XVI of John Mandeville's Travels (mid 14th century) involves a "castle of the Sparrow-hawk" near the town of Pharsipee in Armenia wherein dwells a sparrow-hawk and a "fair lady of faerie" who is its keeper. Anyone who watches the bird for seven days and seven nights without company or sleep, will be granted one wish for any earthly thing. Anyone who falls asleep during the ordeal "is lost, that never man shall see him more."

A King of Armenia passed the test; as he was already worldly wealthy, his wish was to bed the lady. She warned him that she was none earthly thing, but a ghostly thing, and that bedding her would lead to the ruin of his country. Despite this warning, the king took his wish anyway. Armenia was soon embroiled in war, and never recovered its status as a world power. Similarly, a Knight Templar passed the test and wished for a purse perpetually full of gold. He was granted this wish, which led to the jealousy of the French throne and the bloody purge of 1307 which destroyed the Order.

By contrast, a poor man, wiser than the Armenian King, wished simply to gain entry into the merchant trade. He became "the most rich and the most famous merchant that might be on sea or on earth. And he became so rich that he knew not the thousand part of that he had."

Castle of the Sparrowhawk in "The Castle of the Sparrowhawk"[]

The Castle of the Sparrowhawk is located in Faerie, although since John Mandeville wrote his account, it has been mistakenly believed to be in Armenia. It was indeed an Armenian prince, Rupen of Etchmiadzin, who visited the castle and passed its mystical test.

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